THE OLD MAN OF MOW by Alan Garner


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Tempted by a signpost, two English boys are off to Mow Cop (cop: Brit. dial crest), a craggy, windswept village where they lark about and look for the Old Man of Mow as per the words painted on a rock. "He's up top," they're told over and over, but John and Charles gaining the top again and again can't see him. A farmer's wife chases them out of her field, the foreman at a brick factory explains how they're made--it's all very fluid which is also to say unhinged: "There wasn't anyone else to ask. So they thought they would have a fight. So they did." Whereupon (no transition from tumbling in the grass) "They found themselves in the way of a bus" (a doubledecker), find themselves several old men who deny being the Old Man in question, and at last locate him, a stone face above the painted legend. What appeal this has is in the getting there and that, despite nicely composed photos that break beautifully into color at times, is likely to seem quixotic to American children when it's not lost on them altogether.
Pub Date: Oct. 2nd, 1970
Publisher: Doubleday
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1970


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